The yearly financial audit of a city is like a person’s yearly medical checkup, in that it checks the city’s vital signs and financial health.
Like a health report, a single item in an audit can be very important, but a single item will not tell the whole story, and can even be misleading. For example; looking at just total revenue and expense in the 2018 audit reveals that the total revenues exceeded the 2018 total expenses by $454 thousand dollars, which looks good, and appears to leave almost half a million dollars of surplus. However, when one looks at the actual governmental revenues and expenditures, it reverses the picture and reveals that the city expenditures exceeded revenues by $1.3 million! The difference is because total revenues include an extra $900,000 in grant revenue and an $800,000 decrease in utility spending.
The true picture of the city’s finances becomes most apparent in the city’s net position over the last 5 years. During that time the city’s net worth went from $68.7 million in 2013 to $54.5 million in 2018 which is a decrease of 20% in five years, and when inflation is included, then its real decrease is over 25% in the city’s net worth which implies that the city infrastructure is being neglected, and despite a 30% increase in water and sewer bills it could explain why the remaining lead pipes in our city’s water lines have not been replaced. The lead in the water might also explain why none of this seems to be noticed outside of this report.
Saturday, August 31, 2019, was International Overdose Awareness Day which is intended to show how the opioid crisis has become an ever growing epidemic in the local communities. To help fight this issue the Geneva Theatre will be hosting the documentary ‘Written Off’ on Saturday, September 14, at 2:00 p.m. This documentary challenges the way many might think about addiction. It follows the true story of a young man from Wisconsin during his 10-year struggle with his addiction to painkillers, and his efforts to achieve sobriety. This program is sponsored by the Walworth County Human Services and is part of their effort to try and change the way people think about addiction and start to break the stigma of it.
The Walworth County Drug and Alcohol Coalition will also be hosting Narcan training at the Matheson Memorial Library on Thursday, September 12, from 6:00 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. This is a free event that offers informational training, covering current trends, prevention and how to safely administer Narcan, which can treat narcotic overdose in an emergency situation. Both events are great opportunities to learn more about the disease of addiction that consumes so many people, and what can be done by everyone to help.
With Dairy Farmers in Wisconsin expecting more economic strain, Farm Aid 2019 is coming to Wisconsin for its second time, to lend a hand, and will be playing at Alpine Valley on Saturday, September 21. The return to Wisconsin is in response to the Wisconsin dairy farm crisis. Last year the state lost almost 700 dairy farms, and will possibly beat that number this year. Farm Aid has about 14 acts performing during the concert, and all are donating talent and time to help farmers in need. Along with the concert, there will be a “Homegrown Village,” with farmers and artists teaming up for presentations and hands-on activities to help bring awareness of the struggles farmers are going through. All concessions will be sourced from family farms and will be served with compostable service ware. Wisconsin organizations are expected to receive grants from the money raised at Farm Aid, and that is a wonderful thing. Go to Farm Aid and help out simply by attending.